Garth Brooks debuted his new single, "Stronger Than Me," at the 2018 CMA Awards, performing it for the first time for his wife, Trisha Yearwood. The song, which says, "Every now and then she just wants me to hold her / But that don’t mean she’s weak /The fact that you’re unafraid to let your feelings show just means you’re stronger than me," felt as personal as if Brooks wrote it, even though he didn't.
"There are points in your life you never get across," Brooks shared backstage at the CMA Awards. "You both just get to this point, where you argue and argue and then you just get exhausted, and you're done, and that's kind of our way. We have two or three points in our life like that."
"That song addresses two of those three points, so I noticed when I looked up at her, at those points, she was kind of laughing, smiling, and crying at the same time," he continued, "so this song's going to actually make our relationship better, whether it does anything in the business or not."
Brooks previously revealed he had proposed the idea of performing this song live from the CMA Awards stage for the first time, but was initially turned down.
"The thing was, doing a ballad, and a new song, probably wasn't great TV, so they weren't sure about it all, and then when they started to come together and realize, 'Okay, we're going to suck everything down, where everything's big choirs, big lights, big everything. We're going to suck it down to just a singer and the guitar. I think it seemed to ... Hopefully, I hope it works for them. It was a cool moment. She cried, so I was just happy about that," he said.
Brooks really wanted the tender song to be a surprise for Yearwood, in part because of the message in the song, but later realized he might have trouble actually singing the song in front of his adoring wife.
"If my life depends on it, then I can keep a great secret, but that one was for somebody else," explained Brooks. "That's for Miss Yearwood, I really wanted it to be a surprise for her, so it was good. When it came to the last verse, when it says, 'I'd give her anything in life that is mine to give her / 'Til the last breath that I leave, and if I have a choice / I pray God takes me first, because she's stronger than me.' That was a little ... I couldn't get to it."
"I kept sitting there, just replaying," he continued. "They were very sweet. They let me get my speed up, my momentum up, to go into that last verse, but it was good. She took it very well. She's classy and she's too sweet."
Photo Credit: Getty images/Erika Goldring